As a My First Full Susser or simply a full suspension for short riders there is a whole lot going for the Jamis Dakar A2.
- Brand: Jamis
- Product: Dakar A2
- From: Go Outdoors
- Price: £1,500 (£1,300 to Go Outdoors cardholders)
- Tested by: Ted Haworth for 12 months
- Nicely assembled
- Good suspension
- Decent build kit
- Slightly outdated geometry
- A smaller chainring would be most welcome
The fundamentals of the Jamis Dakar A2 have been around since 2019. It’s still a 27.5in wheel bike with 120mm of travel at both ends. There have been a handful of component changes since then but essentially the Dakar is getting on a bit now. But it can still more than hold its own in the modern marketplace – especially if you’re a smaller rider.
At 185cm tall, it has not been me who has been riding this XS size bike. It’s been my 150-155cm son. His 158cm-ish mum has had a brief go on it too on holidays etc but this has been tested very much as a My First Full Susser for kids.
I has been myself doing all the maintenance and set-up of the Jamis Dakar A2. Which has been fine. It has required very little TLC TBH. The gears haven’t required much (if any) tweaking. The brakes haven’t needed any new pads or bleeding. The headset and BB and wheel hubs are still rotating nicely without notching or rumbling. The suspension linkage hasn’t developed any play or creaking.
The Dakar frame is nicely designed and put together for a bike at this price point. The tubes are modern looking and stylish. The head tube is tapered. The tubes (some of them at least) are triple butted. The paint is decent. It doesn’t look overly like a frame that hasn’t changed for ten years or so (like some entry level full sussers do). Things like the 12mm both-thru rear axle and the general not-bad geometry also help the bike look properly modern. The rear axle is non-Boost axle. Which is fine in itself but may prove limiting when upgrading wheels in the future (the fork is Boost spacing).
Don’t get me wrong. The geometry is not amazing. But it’s okay. The 68° head angle is pretty steep. The reach is also relatively short. But it’s doable. The 75° seat angle is fine (mainly because the saddle/seatpost is relatively low-mast on XS size bikes). The 440mm chainstays are perhaps on the lengthy side if the rider is going to be wanting to do jumps and stuff or just generally get the front end up and over things. But, again, it’s all perfectly liveable-with.
The standover is pretty good. The generally straight seat tube is handy for slamming the saddle all the way down (or for upgrading to a proper dropper seat post at some point). I think the lack of super kinked seat tube also helps the Dakar A2 look a bit more modern; kinky seat tubes look very 2010s to me now!
The test pilot would have liked a shorter seat tube for a bit more saddle droppage but highish seat tubes are very common on XS/S size full sussers due to where the linkage needs to be. (We did install a 125mm travel dropper seatpost from PNW in there once Ted’s legs were long enough.)
There are bottle bosses on the underside of the down tube of this XS size. Larger sizes have the bosses inside the front triangle. Whilst under down tube bottle location is not exactly great, I’d rather it was there than not have any at all. Ted typically uses a water bottle with a nozzle cover on it by the way.
In terms of suspension performance, the Dakar A2 was a whole lot better than I thought it would be. Even with a light rider on board, the damping was broad enough to rebound fast enough and free-moving enough to do some actual suspending duties. Which is nice. Jamis’ ‘MP2’ linkage-driven single-pivot rear suspension is superior to the front suspension (fork) but the RockShox Judy Silver was acceptable (I reckon an upgrade would be nice after a year or two if possible).
The brakes have been decent powerful and could be adjusted for smaller fingers. Again, a hop-up to larger rotors at some point down the line would be a sensible and not overly expensive upgrade. I suspect the rotors specced are also resin-only affairs, so watch out when replacing pads (don’t get sintered ones!). Having said that, I would recommend resin pads anyway for lighter riders as they often struggle to get sintered pads up to working temperatures.
The Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain has been okay. We have had a few dropped chains but nothing overly annoying or dangerous (there are ISCG tabs on it should you want to install a chain device). The 11-46T cassette was a decent range but who wouldn’t say yes to an easier gearing? The 32T chainring up front would be one of the first things I’d swap out (to a 28T) to help climbing progress.
The WTB tyres have been decent. The Vigilante up front is grippy and capable. Its volume also helps offset the fork’s limited performance. The Trail Boss rear tyre is something of a mixed blessing. Its low rolling resistance is helpful but its lack of bite when braking can be sketchy skiddy. On balance though the tyres are a sensible pairing all-round.
Finishing kit then. WTB Volt saddle was a winner. The Race Face 50mm stem, 760mm bars and Jamis lock-on grips were okay. The WTB STX i-25 rims were trouble-free and an appropriate internal width (25mm) for the types of sub-2.4in tyres likely to be run on this bike.
As a My First Full Susser or simply a full suspension for short riders there is a whole lot going for the Jamis Dakar A2. Sure there are some niggles (the ever so slightly dated geometry mainly) but all in all the past year on this bike has been loads of fun and it has generally helped – rather than held back – the young test pilot’s riding progress. It is also a sound platform for upgrading if it were to be the bike of shorter adult.
Jamis Dakar A2 Specification
- Frame // Triple Butted 6061 Aluminium, 120mm
- Fork // RockShox Judy Silver, 120mm
- Shock // RockShox Monarch R
- Wheels // WTB STX I-25 tubeless rims on Shimano MT400 hubs
- Front tyre // WTB Vigilante 27.5 x 2.35in
- Rear tyre // WTB Trail Boss 27.5 x 2.35in
- Chainset // Shimano Deore
- Drivetrain // Shimano Deore, 10 Speed
- Brakes // Shimano MT200, 180/160mm
- Stem // Race Face Ride, 50mm
- Bars // Race Face Ride, 760mm x 35mm
- Grips // Jamis Lock-On
- Seatpost // Race Face Ride, 400mm, 31.6mm
- Saddle // WTB Volt
- Bottom Bracket // Shimano HTII
- Size tested // XS
- Sizes available // XS, S, M, L, XL
- Weight // 14kg
- Head angle // 68°
- Effective seat angle // 75°
- Seat tube length // 385mm
- Head tube length // 100mm
- Chainstay // 440mm
- Wheelbase // 1,100mm
- Effective top tube // 545mm
- BB height // 18mm BB drop
- Reach // 393mm.
|Price:||£1500 (£1,300 if Go Outdoors cardholders)|
|Tested:||by Ted Haworth for 12 months|